Sci-Fi London Film Festival – a review

For some reason despite claiming to have my finger on the pulse of geekdom in London I somehow have only become aware of London’s annual sci-fi film festival this year – it’s 9th.

So it was with great excitement that I planned a very long weekend of events to give me a broad scope of the festival.

The festival director Louis Savy decided that this year the festival should have a theme.  Life in 2050 was the theme that they came up with and to that end one of the offsite parts of the festival was an contemporary arts exhibition at the Proud Central gallery – http://www.life-in-2050.com/ .  It was a fascinating exhibition and with all art there were some brilliant and evocative pieces as well as some that simply made no sense to me.  But definitely worth a visit.

The festival began on Thursday night with the Clarke awards which I wasn’t at but by all accounts it was a great do and congratulations to China Mielville on his 3rd win, this time with his novel The City and The City.

My weekend started on the Friday night with Blink of an eye program 1.  This was a couple of hour of short films and you can read my review of all the shorts here –Blink of an Eye

After that, let me tell you I was in need of some light relief and luckily it was time for Geek Night Out.  Geek Night Out is another geek institution that I was unaware of, it’s basically a geek based stand up comedy evening hosted by Rob Deb.  It’s been going for a couple of years apparently (shame on me). My review is here – Geek Night Out

Saturday began with a comics panel celebrating 60 years of Dan dare, the flagship british sci-fi character.  60 years and still going strong. The panel had people on it that had worked on dan dare through the ages including gary Erskine, the artist known  for Dare’s most recent incarnation with Virgin comics.  This was a fascinating journey through Dan Dare’s history and I learnt a hell of a lot about the reasons why it’s so hard to do anything with the character at the moment.  I love Dan Dare and I became quite angry with politics, ego, greed and the corporate nonsense that is getting in the way of any more happening with him.

The panel was very poorly attented which was a real shame.  Was it because the film/comics crowd have a poor cross over.  I’d be surprised if that was the case but a brief chat with Alex fitch one of the organisers seem to indicate a pattern with the comics panels.

Later that evening  I saw the second short film program which was a bit lighter in tone and you can see my one line reviews at the link above.

This was followed by flirting with the girls that were selling some truly awesome cupcakes, which were being advertised as sci-fi cupcakes cos of the sparkly sprinklings and the odd UFO, but thats by the by.

I watched 2 feature films that night Vampires (click for my review) and 2033 (review here).

On Saturday there were three all nights, a comedy one, a manga one and a Starfighter one. I went to the comedy one which started with the Rutger Hauer film Salute of the Jugger, with the sound turned down and a panel of comedians improvising to it.  Great stuff but I left before the end.  Think I’m too old for one of those all nighthers.

Sunday afternoon saw a panel called Birth of the Modern, which examined Dr Who’s return to our screen with a panel of old school and new school directors and then the Dr’s audio adventures wuth a panel of  audio producers.  This was capped of by a dramatised reading of a Paul Cornell, Bernice Sommerfield script, which was excellently performed.  This was panel was packed by people of all ages.

Monday night saw the festivals closing film, Cargo – and you can read my review here.

The festival was sponsored by the game Starcraft and by the end of the weekend I was heartily sick of the screening of the game demo with 2 overly enthusiastic American commentators.  The trailer for the game however was fantastic but I couldnt see it’s relation to the actual game.

I loved the international flavour of science fiction that I got form this festival.  I revelled in the texure of films that didn;t have an American feel to them.  Not because I don’t like American sci-fi but because it’s what I’m so used to that the change of pace and feel and humour was really nice.  Although saying that i would have liked to have seen a few more British efforts there.

I loved the social aspect of it and made some new friends and contacts

Freebies and giveaways characterised every event over the weekend which was great.

If there was a downside it was that…….actually i can’t think of one.  I know there were some feature films that weren’t great but i didn’t see them.  This was a fantastic festival for me.  If you like sci-fi of all stripes then don’t miss next years festival, it has quite a loyal following and for good reason.  And if you really can’t wait until next year, then catch the Oktoberfest late this year.

A thumbs up and 5/5 from me

GS Reporter: Monts

Source: Sci-fi London

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One comment

  1. Hi as one of the Dan Dare panel – I would like to add that Dan Dare in his original form (but new stories) can be found in the Spaceship Away magazine (that also features Journey into Space and Garth) all back issues are still available, and new one will be out nexrt month.
    Details including, page scans, contents notes etc. can be found on the Spaceship Away website :- http://spaceshipaway.org.uk
    Cheers Rod Barzilay (Founder & Editor of Spaceship Away)

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